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NEWS// Jade burial suits

NEWS// Jade burial suits

Rumors of jade burial suits for the rich and powerful in China existed in antiquity. But no actual jade burial suit was discovered.

Jude burial suits discovered

Then in 1968 the remains of Prince Liu Sheng and his wife Princess Dou Wan were discovered in an intact tomb in Hebei Province. Both were dressed in jade. Since that time archeologists have recovered less than two dozen more suits. 

There may not be many more to find. In AD 223 the emperor stopped the production of these suits because their value encouraged tomb looting. Looters would burn the suits to retrieve the gold thread that held them together. (The jade suits of Liu Sheng and Dou Wan consisted of 2,498 plates of solid jade connected with two and a half pounds of gold wires.)

Burial clothes for the wealthy

Jade burial suits  were extremely expensive to create. And making them was labor intensive, requiring several years to complete. Only the wealthiest could afford them.

The stones used for the suits were cut in square and rectangular shapes. Some of the suits also have trapezoid, rhomboid, and triangular shapes. Joining the stones by wire allowed the creation of larger shapes with groups of jade stones.

Own your own suit

By the way, if you would like to have your own jade burial suit, several are available on Ebay. They are a steal at $15,000.

Sources: Joy of Museums, Encyclopedia: The Free Dictionary, Prezi, Atlas Obscura